On Your Side: Pine Nut Allergies

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News 12 at 6, February 19, 2008

NORTH AUGUSTA---The Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture recently issued a warning about a brand of pesto sauce that fails to mention a key ingredient on its label, pine nuts. The reason its serious is because pine nuts can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

It's called Cibo Natural Classic Basil Pesto and for one reason or another, pine nuts were not included on the ingredients list. Many of you may not realize what pine nuts can do to people who are allergic.

WRDW Sales Executive Joe Tonsing almost wasn't here today.

"Another 30 minutes and I would have been dead." Joe said.

A few years ago, Joe was on vacation when he found out the hard way he has an allergy to something that could kill him.

"I was eating a salad that had pine nuts in it. Tiny pine nuts that I paid no attention to." he remembered.

Within no time, the symptoms were setting in.

"Swelling up, you develop a rash, you can't speak, your eyes begin to close up." he said.

Luckily, he got to the hospital in time, but he's not alone with this allergy.

There are a lot of people out there who are allergic to pine nuts. And pine nuts are in more things than you realize, pesto sauce, cookies and even some coffees.

And eating them can cause life-threatening problems for people who are allergic to them. One of the most severe reactions is anaphylaxis, which can quickly kill a person if it goes untreated.

Allergists say many people who have this allergy don't even know it.

"Most allergists don't even screen for pine nuts allergies. Many people may react to a sauce in a restaurant and not realize what they are reacting to." MCG Allergist Dr. Dennis Ownby said.

Again, the warning from the state is for "Cibo Natural Classic Basil Pesto." Since many people may not even know they are allergic to pine nuts, it is important to take note when you have a reaction, even a small one, after eating. You may need to be tested to see if you are allergic.

Lucky for us, Joe got help in time and is still here.

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